Residential Sellers Without Identification

This article explains the impact of a sale by a seller who cannot provide the relevant identification.

While the content of this post should be considered reliable and informative, this should not be considered legal advice and we recommend that you contact our firm directly should you have any questions.

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In a recent experience, Robertson LLP was assisting a client who had sold their property and before signing with the lawyer, had their vehicle broken into whereby their wallet and ID was stolen. The client had no other valid form of ID and could not provide any acceptable ID to legitimately prove that they in fact were the owner of the property.

Very simply put: if you cannot prove to your lawyer that you legally own the property, then you cannot sell it.

The impact of not providing the required ID could cause the transaction to fall through and the seller could forfeit the sale. Once all conditions have been waived, if a seller is unable or unwilling to follow through with the transaction then the buyers can pursue them for all costs and damages related to the deal.

Take Away: make sure you / your clients have acceptable ID.



By ensuring you / your clients have valid ID you eliminate the chance of not being able to close the transaction because of a lack of acceptable ID.

  • Set up an online reminder for your driver’s license. In lieu of the written reminders the Alberta Government used to send out, there is now an online reminder service. Sign up now
  • Set up a reminder on your phone for 3-6 months before various ID expires.
  • Check out the requirements of renewing or replacing ahead of time to get the ball rolling early enough to meet your needs.


By ensuring you / your clients keep alternative original ID protected you eliminate the chance of not being able to close the transaction because of a lack of acceptable ID.

  • Prepare for the worst by investing in a small fireproof safe for your home.
  • Plan ahead by organizing a safe deposit box with your bank or credit union.
  • Entrust certain people with the location of your important documents, including original forms of ID, in case you are unable to access them yourself when needed.


Your lawyer is required by law to verify that you indeed are the legal owner of the property and therefore have authority to sell the property. (Acceptable forms of Alberta ID are listed below.)

Your lawyer is also required to ensure that dower rights are being adhered to. This means verifying there is not a spouse whose property is being sold without their permission through the Dower Acknowledgement. Read our article ‘Dower Consent & Acknowledgement’ for more information regarding the dower.


Law Society of Alberta states acceptable ID to be ‘valid original government issued identification’.


  • Motor Vehicle Driver’s Licence
  • Alberta Provincial Identification Card
  • Valid Passport
  • Canadian Citizenship Certificate Card
  • Permanent Residency Card
  • Government of Alberta Employee ID for Child and Family Service Authority Card
  • Treaty Status Card
  • Canadian Immigration Visa
  • Canadian Forces Identification Card
  • Correctional Service Canada Card
  • Corrections Officer Identification Card
  • Fire Arms Card